The term 'imposter phenomenon' was introduced in 1978 by Dr Pauline R Clance and Dr Suzanne A Imes. The two doctors identified as someone having imposter syndrome who has experience of self-perceived intellectual phoniness (fraud).


These people (mostly women as Dr Clance and Dr Imes discovered) explained how they were able to maintain their success as a result of luck or just overestimating their intelligence and/or abilities.

It is believed that the mental framework for imposter phenomenon was developed from gender stereotypes, early family dynamics, and/or culture.

Perfectionists, who always think that they can do or accomplish more, are often affected by Imposter Syndrome.

High achievers might think that they are not good enough, so they are always looking for the next thing that they need to do.

It is a common disorder, and is more well-known than people might think. Famous people who have reported experiencing Imposter Syndrome include Maya Angelou, Emma Watson, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Sonia Sotomayor.


7 signs that you might have imposter syndrome


Thinking that you were lucky

People who believe that they are imposters believe that they could not have succeed in life without having a bit of luck. Whether they think they were at the right place at the right time, or that it was someone who pushed them until they got somewhere, some people feel that they wouldn’t’ have gotten where they are now without some luck on their side.


Believing that you’re a fraud

Some people feel that they aren’t genuinely good at their skills. They feel that they have tricked other people into believing that they are good, and that eventually these same people will find out and call them out on it. Maya Angelou felt this way before, “I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘Uh-oh, they’re going to find [me] out now.”

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You won’t accept praise

A lot of people cannot accept someone giving them praise for the work that they have done. They would rather think that people are just being kind to them, instead of believing that their work deserves the acknowledgement


You believe that failure is not an option

A lot of people might feel that they have to keep up the persona of being this one person, so that no one discovers the truth.

The more successful they get, the more pressure that they feel.


You feel as though you’re making it up as you go

Once again, this is another example of discrediting their abilities and/or skills. Anything to take the spotlight off of them, and make themselves believe that they are not good enough to have known how to do a certain task.


You think you need to charm people so you won’t be found out

People like this feel that if they can pull the persona and make people believe their act, then they won’t be found out, and they can continue living in what they believe is a lie.


You compare your life to the lives of others all the time

This is usually when social media comes into play. A lot of people compare their lives with others. They believe that their struggles are different from others, and they assume that everyone is just getting by with their life. This makes some people feel that there must be something wrong with them, and that they are the problem.

Do you suffer from imposter syndrome? Take our quiz to find out!


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